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The find comes from the excavations conducted in the Maszycka Cave by Gotfryd Ossowski in 1883 and is related with reindeer hunters (the so-called Magdalenian culture). The object was made from reindeer antlers. It is almost 30 cm long. It was found among the remains of several people (men, women and children).

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The find comes from the excavations conducted in the Maszycka Cave by Gotfryd Ossowski in 1883 and is related with reindeer hunters (the so-called Magdalenian culture). The object was made from reindeer antlers. It is almost 30 cm long. It was found among the remains of several people (men, women and children). The circumstances of their death indicate that they must have fallen victim to cannibalistic practices. The sudden character of this event left no time for the inhabitants of the cave to secure their tools, which were, therefore, left.
Among the objects found during the excavations, the item which deserves special attention is the mysterious horn object with phallically-shaped ends of two horns between which a round hole was drilled. Similar finds, often artistically made and richly decorated, are known from numerous Magdalenian sites. These objects are usually associated with a symbolic meaning connected with rituals and magic. In this context they are identified with the so-called shaman staffs or sticks, or chief batons (sceptres) that react to touch — the attributes of a high social position.
However, the utility function of objects of this type cannot be excluded in reference to tools of the type of spear launchers or similar looking tools used by the Inuit to straighten wood and bones.

Elaborated by Elżbieta Chochorowska (Archaeological Museum of Kraków), © all rights reserved

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Horn sceptre, the so-called bâton de commendement, from Maszycka Cave

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